Romantics are drawn to Paris in the spring and so too was the RF and microwave community as the CNIT, International Conference and Exhibition Centre opened its doors to RF & HYPER Europe on March 21 to 23, 2006. At the heart of the event is an exhibition with a French core that widens to embrace the rest of Europe and the global market. In its 32nd year the event attracted around 150 exhibitors, complemented by application conferences run by exhibitors, EMC presentations and a new seminar relating to RF Technologies and Packaging.
Exhibitors varied from the large global leaders to the smaller local players, from established household names to new start-ups and virtually all sectors of the industry were represented in terms of product. In particular there were manufacturers of test and measurement equipment, components, software and sub-assemblies. Many targeted the event to launch new products, showcase newcomers for the first time or even preview new developments. Read on to discover a selection that caught the eye.
PRODUCTS FROM THE SHOW FLOOR
The Brest based company used its home country’s show to launch a new UWB antenna (JET/ENSTB patent FR05 02922), for which special care has been taken in order to provide uniform radiation performance throughout the UWB frequency band. The antenna shows both an omnidirectional radiation pattern and a very high efficiency over a wide bandwidth (VSWR lower than 2.0:1 from 3.0 to 10.8 GHz). Moreover, thanks to its small size (43.3 mm in diameter and 47 mm in height, including connector and radome), the antenna should meet the demand in a wide range of high standard applications such as building infrastructures.
The company also took the opportunity to announce that based on its past experience in embedded antennas it is working on similar solutions to match the requirements of mass production (i.e. mainly size constraints and cost). Several technologies are considered, among which low profile stamped metal and SMC topologies stand out as the most relevant.
It was the European debut of the Analog Office™ 2006 software for the design of radio frequency integrated circuits (RFIC) for next-generation communications products. The design suite includes the second generation of the company’s Intelligent Net™ (iNet) technology, which powers ‘on the fly’ interconnect extraction through an advanced interconnect-based design methodology. In addition, the new release features dramatic improvement in layout editing capacity and performance. Speed in common layout operations, such as opening designs, redrawing, and general editing, has been accelerated up to 100 times faster than the previous version. Physical layouts of hundreds of thousands of devices can be opened and viewed in a matter of seconds rather than minutes.
The design suite provides an open RF design platform with five best-in-class EM simulators, four circuit simulators, and a complete physical design and verification toolset, all fully integrated into the single design platform. The software delivers a proven design flow and validated process design kits, which enable multiple tape-outs, including several to the Jazz Semiconductor’s silicon germanium (SiGe) process.
Chelton Telecom & Microwave
Following consolidation in 2005, the group used the show to demonstrate its commitment to product development and growth, particularly through investment in R&D. So, the show was the perfect opportunity to promote its re-organisation into key product areas based around six main production centres — Systems in Plaisir, France; Diodes & Modules in Les Ulis, France; RF Filters & Duplexers in Draguignan, France; Ferrite Devices in Goussainville, France; and Waveguides in Chichester, UK and Les Clayes-sous-Bois, France. These centres have the ability to manage customized and small quantity requests as well as low cost, mass production products. From the request to the final product delivery, its engineers manage all the processes in microelectronics and mechanics.
As an example of this product development, the new Drop-in Isolator Range, which meets telecom market specific requirements was launched on the first day of the show. The range covers all requested technologies — GSM 800 - 900 - 1800 - 1900 MHz/UMTS 2100 MHz, magnetically shielded and Beo free and RoHs compliant. They can be single or dual junction and clockwise or counter-clockwise. Importantly, the footprint is compatible with all of the company’s previous devices. Thus, the range offers a high level of performance alongside attractive pricing for such technology.
Computer Simulation Technology (CST)
The company announced the next step towards the seamless exchange of data between EDA layout tools and CST MICROWAVE STUDIO™ 2006 (CST MWS). With this latest release engineers interested in SI issues can now import multi-layer structures, including vias, previously laid-out in tools from Cadence, Mentor, Zuken etc. and exported to GERBER. The complete 3 dimensional models can be studied with transient or frequency domain, full wave analysis, providing unprecedented insight into cross-talk, radiated emission, and signal and power integrity issues in general. Benefits include: fast and efficient, full 3D simulation of multi-layer structures; no loss of layout details and automated creation of full 3D models.
Looking forward the company announced a new solver module in CST MICROWAVE STUDIO — the augmentation of its 3D EM field solver palette. The new module, based on the Multilevel Fast Multipole Method (MLFMM), is dedicated to tackling electrically large problems and will be available in Q3 of 2006. The MLFMM opens up new possibilities to users in terms of structure size, as it is able to solve structures much larger than 20 wavelengths and is of particular interest because of its ability to deal with dielectric losses. Typical application examples include antenna placement on an airplane and radar cross section (RCS) calculations of large scattering objects.
The French test automation company believes it is taking automated EMC tests to the next level with the launch of an innovative solution to control EUT parameters — EASY-Monitoring. Combined with BAT-EMC software, this Plug & Play tool complements survey equipment during tests. Using an USB interface, it offers 10 analogue I/O and 12 digital I/O. Once connected to the equipment, these I/O can be recorded, triggered and controlled.
This new tool increases the number of controlled lines and improves the reproducibility and the traceability of tests. In a couple of ‘clicks’, the user can monitor physical parameters (voltage, current, etc.), activate stimulation tools, etc. It is also said to be economical, efficient and easy to use.
The Paris based company did not have to travel far to announce the introduction of the CGY2178UH — a high gain LNA for use in C-Band applications (5 to 6 GHz). It achieves an excellent noise figure (1 dB), matching (<-15 dB) and a high gain (30 dB) in C-Band using a fully integrated amplifier with a simple and robust external input matching circuit. Operating from 3 V and 40 mA the LNA provides an output 1 dB compression point of 15 dBm and an output IP3 of 22 dBm. This LNA forms part of the company’s chip set for active antennas in C-band that includes a fully integrated core chip MMIC as well as separate phase shifters and attenuators MMICs. Its development is based on the company’s experience in supplying high performance LNAs to the base station market using a fully qualified 180 nm PHEMT technology and its recent developments in phased array antenna MMICs.
Centre stage was the brand new range of Test & Measurement RF and Microwave Cable-assemblies dedicated to laboratory applications requiring excellent electrical performance, with high mechanical and environmental resistance allowing for repeated mating and unmating. With an operational frequency range of DC to 18 GHz, these ultra-low loss cable assemblies feature excellent return loss and high phase stability with temperature and under flexure. They feature strain relief's and high flexibility cables and a large choice of standard cable and connector combinations (SMA, TNC, N Type, etc.) can be selected as well as optional Projack protective jackets.
The company has also released several new RF power switching connectors that are surface/edge mounted. This ‘two in one’ product replaces existing standard RF switches by integrating the switch function into a connector receptacle. The design optimizes packaging density, simplifies the printed circuit board layout and reduces the overall cost of ownership. They are available in right or left versions for QMA, QN (both Quick Lock Formula certified) TNC, N and SMA interfaces.
Finally came the introduction a surface-mounted, hybrid SMT 3 dB coupler specifically designed to operate at 225 W, at a frequency range of 800 MHz to 1 GHz. This coupler, part number R431.211.502, exhibits a VSWR < 1.12 in the 869 to 960 MHz range. At this frequency the insertion loss is less than 0.12 dB. Additional versions, designed to address the 1,700 to 2,000 MHz and 2,000 to 2,300 MHz frequency range are planned to be released later in 2006.
The focus was on WiMax and the company’s development of power amplifiers, transistors, LNAs, and PLL synthesizers that incorporate wireless technology utilizing point to multi-point, point to point backhaul outdoor transceiver, repeaters through GaN HEMT power transistors delivering high speed internet and video signals. In particular the GaN HEMT power transistors have high power, high efficiency, high linearity, wide bandwidth, wide supply voltage and low cost. The current 5 W and 15 W power transistors were featured while the development of 30 W, 60 W power transistors and CW 40 W (OFDM 39 dBm), 30 dB gain were highlighted.
Also featured was a new connectorized 10 W power amplifier using GaN technology with SMA connector, temperature and overpower alarm, including an ALC function, for WiMax base station applications.
The company doubled up by showcasing two new introductions. First, calibration substrates are critical components of every on-wafer RF and microwave test system but raise certain issues. To address these the company has introduced the SubstrateNavigator™ for easily identifying the current standard, navigating to another standard or moving to a completely different calibration substrate. With this tool, the user can quickly identify what standard he/she is currently viewing and move quickly to any different standard. The interface is very intuitive as the tool automatically generates a graphical map of the substrate and the user navigates to different standards by simply clicking on the map.
Second, the company’s RF and microwave on-wafer Z Probe has undergone a facelift, whereby the new design unifies the complete family under one standard system size. Now the user can easily change between a Z Probe, a Dual Z Probe, a Multi Z Probe, a Multi DC Probe and a ProbeWedge without repositioning the ProbeHead. This makes the switch between single-end and differential measurements on a probe system easy and quick.
The theme was the present and the future as the company demonstrated version 5 of its CONCERTO electromagnetic modeling package and previewed version 6. The former includes the original FDTD simulator, QUICKWAVE, and the established frequency domain Method of Moments solver, CLASP. Version 6, which is currently under development for release later this year, will include features such as: improved OptimiserPlus facilities for QUICKWAVE linking directly to the modeler; more flexible modeling facilities, including updated session history and parameterisation tools; Gaussian beam sources; new pre and post processing tools for CLASP antenna and microwave applications; an increase in the number of solvers incorporated to three by the integration of the SOPRANO finite element based simulator.
The company also announced that final test and documentation was underway for its OPERA version 11, which will be released in April. The new version will feature a number of enhancements to usability and functionality, including: a modified interface; contextual help in the modeler; functional material properties and external circuit components; a new quench solver in 3d; a new demagnetisation analysis in 3d and additional post processor functions, including fields over spherical surfaces.